Friday, July 13, 2012

Another Chapter Ending

I guess the time has finally come for me to leave this blogosphere. I've enjoyed my stay and it's been great. I may be back later but right now I just don't seem to have it in me to blog about my life. I've learned a lot through the blogging world but it's time to reconnect with humans face to face. I think I have more to do in that area.

Thank you to all of you that have followed me on my journeys. I appreciate the support and comments and it's been a great ride. If and when I feel I have more to say I'll be back but for now I don't feel that I have that much to say.

I did graduate from massage school (WOOT WOOT!) and I'm continuing on  and will be finished and certified by the end of the year. I still need to keep practicing since I haven't found a part-time gig as of yet. And I don't want to lose what I've learned.

And on a final note, I get to go on vacation next month! The first time in about 3 years that I'm going on vacation! HAWAII!!!! "Come on and go Hawaiian!"

So that's really funny because I didn't realize that song was Donny and Marie. I just remember the jingle but didn't remember it was them singing in it. FUNNY! Aah...the 70's and 80's, quite a time!

I'm going to leave you with that! Stay well and be happy!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The more I know the less I know!

This past weekend was a DOOZY! I mean...whew! and WHOA! and WOW! And it was all a little bit much. An emotional wipeout! But I can say that with all of that came some goodness, some clarity and some peace. Funny how that goes. Also exhausting because I had no time off. Full day of class Saturday AND Sunday! Massage class Saturday and aromatherapy Sunday. Saturday's massage class was a very challenging exercise about how pain and trauma, emotional or physical, shows up in your body. It's fascinating to be sure. But it was a tough tough class for me. I'm glad I did it and participated fully but I think it just about wiped me out!

While I was at class Sunday one of the other participants said, "I feel like the more I know the less I know!" Oh, yes, that resonates with me 100%. Does it ever amaze you how much you don't know and how much there is to learn? And on the flip side does it ever amaze you how much you already know? It's shocking to me sometimes. Like when you have the answer for something that you didn't know you knew. I have definitely felt this way about my massage school. There are so many facets to massage, bodywork, energy work, etc. that I either didn't know existed or didn't know the extent all these different things can help you. I feel like such an infant in my knowledge base on how we can heal ourselves and/or live a much younger and healthier life. There's SOOOOO much to learn! Then I get anxious and overexcited about learning and want to know it all now. Does this happen to you? Please tell me it does. Or is this what being obsessive is all about? Haha! I was really glad I went to this class because now I know that the Raindrop Technique, while being extremely amazing to receive is not something I would be inclined to give. It's just not for me. But at least now I know what it's all about and that I really enjoy it being done and also know that I have no desire to practice it. I will of course be incorporating some essential oils into my massage practice though. And for my own personal use of course.

I've had a pretty big shift over the past couple of weeks about working out and my body in general. I hold a lot of muscle and don't lose it too quickly. Yet I think I've kind of been living in fear of losing my muscle since you do lose muscle as you get older. That seemed to be my reason for lifting weights. Well, it eventually was working against me and I had no desire to lift weights. And my desire to work out kept dwindling. Finally about a week and a half ago I decided that enough was enough and I was just going to have to do what sounded good to me and felt good to my body regardless of if I thought I was going to lose my muscle. And then I started blading and dancing and I already feel so much better. We often forget to honor what our bodies and/or mind are telling us.

Then last week I went to get an AMAZING massage. This therapist taught me that I have a whole helluva lot left to learn in this field. It was amazing and inspiring. And he said to me something that made me stop and think. It was about doing weights. And he said to me that I didn't need anymore muscle. Now he didn't say it in a mean way as if I'm too big and muscly. He just said it matter-of-factually and it struck a nerve. And I had to question myself and my reasons for doing weights in the first place and then I realized that I don't need anymore muscle right now and I really don't need to fear the loss of muscle. Yes, I think it's important to be strong but I AM strong and I do have a LOT of muscle. And after thinking about this I basically breathed a sigh of relief. How crazy is that? It's like I needed "permission" to not lift weights.  And now I'm totally fine not lifting weights or even going to a gym right now. I'm thinking more skating and dancing are in the works for me. And I think I'll even bring back my Pilates practice that I love so much. And even some yoga again. I actually haven't been going to yoga because the best time for me is on Tuesday nights and I've been in massage class on Tuesday nights. So now I'll be able to go back to yoga on Tuesday nights. Yay!

There's so much to learn about myself, my body, my mind, and life in general. I feel like such an infant right now. Everything is new as far as all the bodywork stuff goes. But that's what life's about, right? Finding something that you really enjoy and just learning all you can until the next thing comes along that you want to learn about. Kind of fun, don't you think? Wow! I can't believe I only have two more classes and then this part of my massage school is over. I'll be taking more classes to get my certification but this part will be done. It's been quite a ride!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Apricot Mint Smoothie - dairy free & vegan

It's apricot time! Yay! Let's all cheer for apricots! I love them so much. We actually had an apricot tree growing up but wasn't as crazy about them then as I am now. And apricot and mint? Such a divine combination. With all that in mind, I set out to make a delicious apricot smoothie this morning. This is so refreshing and yummy.

Apricot Mint Smoothie

1 cup lightly flavored tea (I used Adagio from Lupicia - green rooibos with lemongrass) or water
2 large apricots (3-4 small), pits removed
1 1/2 handfuls of macadamia nuts
1/2 tablespoon chia
1 tablespoon hemp protein
1/2 teaspoon maca
1/2 teaspoon chlorella
2 dates, pitted
2 stems of mint, leaves only
8 or so ice cubes

Blend all but ice till smooth. With blender running add ice cubes one at a time through hole in top of blender. Blend till desired consistency. Enjoy!




Saturday, June 2, 2012

Massage School and Life (which is GOOD!)

Sorry I have been MIA. I've just been super busy and trying to get in a lot of massage practice so I can rock as a massage therapist! Woohoo!

And let me just say WOW! What an affirming day today was! I guess I know I'm finally...FINALLY...on the right path! Where to begin...well probably here - at Massage School

MASSAGE SCHOOL AND AROMATHERAPY: Massage school is still awesome and amazing! I just love it. I'm learning so much. And tonight was the cherry on the sundae. My instructor pulled me aside and asked me if I wanted to be a T.A. (teacher's assistant for those that don't know) for a class later in the year! Wow! How cool is that? He said that my body mechanics are really spot on and I can observe in others what they might need to change to help them with their massage. This was very awesome to hear and very very affirming! I'm so excited! WAHOOO!!!! I was also practicing with two girls in class that said great things like "you notice every single thing, you don't miss a beat" and "why are the body mechanics so easy for you". Oh! And the bonus of being asked to be a TA is that you get credit hours that can go towards advanced classes at the school.

Also I had lunch with my friend that I had worked on a couple of weeks ago and she said, "I just want to tell you that massage was the best massage I've ever had." Again...wow! Thank you so much Charlene! That means so much to me.

Also a couple of nights ago I went to a free aromatherapy intro at my massage school and I was the demo client! It was amazing. Those of you that know me know that I have a very sensitive nose and am very tuned into scent in general. So aromatherapy is something that definitely resonates with me. It was really cool and amazing. I know this sounds crazy but they measured my height before and after and I probably gained about 1/4" or so in a 15-minute session. Very cool. I'm going to be taking the full course next week. Can't wait! Essential oils are amazing and have been around for a long time. And since they come from plants of course I believe they are great for you. From nature to you. It's the only way to go. I'm going more and more natural in my life because I know that all this man-made creations can't be all that great for you.

HAIRCARE: I've stopped dying my hair with chemical dye. I can only imagine how bad that is for me. I don't want to do that anymore. Now I use henna from Morrocco Method. Next time I dye it with henna I'll try to remember to take some before and after pictures. It's actually quicker to apply than the chemical dyes but you have to leave it on much longer and it takes FOREVER to rinse out. But it didn't stain anything at all. It says your hair will feel softer but I don't really find that to be true. It does feel healthier though. I understand that I still have a lot of chemical left in my hair too so maybe once the chemicals are finally out of my hair my hair will actually feel softer. I also use shampoo and conditioner that don't have chemicals in them. They smell a little funky but I can tell my hair is happier in general.

WORKOUTS: Okay, let me just be honest. Strength training is having little appeal to me right now.Very little...virtually none...actually almost completely none. I really don't know why. So I had to reconfigure my mind! LOL! And I decided that I need to do something that's appealing to me so I will actually get in some kind of workout and movement. So I decided to bring my inline skating back to the forefront of my life. I love the outdoors and the weather is PERFECT for skating right now! So yesterday I went and it was FANTASTIC! I forgot how much I love it! And so I decided that it may not be the best thing for me in terms of building strength but there is something to be said for pushing my bodyweight up a hill through the friction of the road in lateral movement. And to be honest it doesn't matter how much weight training I do but those muscles used in skating I can never truly target in the same way. So...it's onto more skating for me. Yes, I'll still go to the gym but mostly now to enhance my skating ability! This is a win win for me.

NUTRITION: Hmmm...what do I have to say about that? Nothing really. It's just really nice to eat what I really want to eat. I do need to be better about making meals and not eating out so often but all in time, all in time. I really enjoy my shake in the morning so I'll probably keep that up for most of the summer. I can just put so much goodness into it that it makes it so worthwhile. I was having 8 ounces of kombucha each day with some acai, chlorella, and maca. But then I found out by checking out ayurveda that I probably shouldn't really be eating/drinking fermented foods. So I decided to chill with the kombucha. So no I put those items in my shake instead. Can't even taste them in there. Well, I don't always put the acai, just in fruit smoothies. But not in the chocolate one.

The only thing I really need to put a focus on is going to bed earlier! Why is that so challenging for me? I've been better about it but really not getting to bed when I need to...as witnessed by the post time of this blog entry! Okay, I'll be better next week. For real! Good night! Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Macadamia Peach Cobbler Smoothie

This morning I wanted something fruity and quick. So I checked out my frozen fruit and saw that I had frozen peaches. Hmmm...and macadamia nuts? And the flavor of peach cobbler? Win win win! This is a tasty concoction I came up with. Try it out yourself! I think you might like it!

1 handful macadamia nuts
1 cup frozen peaches
1 cup water
1 tablespoon hemp protein powder
1/2 tablespoon chia seeds
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 dates
2-3 teaspoons coconut sugar
6 ice cubes

Place all but ice cubes in blender. Blend well until smooth. Add ice and blend again just until all ice is blended. Serve. Yummy!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Setback? Why, yes, I'll take one.

I really was gungho about getting back on the workout scene. So where did I go wrong? Overdoing it. That's all. Once again I didn't listen to my body. I'm sure it was talking to me but I really think I didn't listen. About two weeks ago I hurt my shoulder working out but I really didn't think it was that bad. Yeah, it actually was so I've only worked out once in the past two weeks with weights and been to the track only twice for two light workouts. I feel unhealthy to say the least. But that's okay. I'll be back in the swing of things.

I went to see my chiropractor the other day. She did some active release type of work on my shoulder area, mainly my rear delt and pec major. That helped out a lot. I felt better almost instantly. I call her my "magician". I'm doing some rehab/strengthening exercises to help me out. And finally some ultrasound. I know it doesn't seem like it would work but it really does.

I've been in touch with Kellie also so we could figure out what to do now. This is the only downside to not being able to train in person. But that's okay. I feel safe with her and she's going to rework my plan to be lower body for now till I feel healed then we'll work back in the upper body. I need to have a plan right now. I definitely cannot fly by the seat of my pants. That is just not going to work! So a plan is a plan is a plan. And I need a plan! Thanks Kellie for helping me with that!

On the nutrition front, not so much. I feel like a whirling dervish. I feel like my life is kind of spinning out of control so I need to take some time for me this weekend and I'm going to do it. I need to get back in control of myself and my life! And so I will. It will be done. In fact I think I'm going to start tonight and should be all squared away by Sunday night. When my home is a wreck, I'm a wreck. And right now I would say that I'm kind of a wreck. But fear not...I will return full force so get ready.

That's about it. I'll be back with more next week. Hope you all have a fabulous weekend!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I'm an angel...or at least I have a wing!

A winged scapula that is! After my workout on Friday night I was in pain all around my serratus anterior and up through my neck. NOT a fun feeling. Quite painful to be honest. And it hurt all the way down my rhomboids making it hard to breathe. So of course I did what anyone living in this decade would do and self-diagnosed via Google. Although I have had this problem and pain for a long time, no one has ever diagnosed the problem and therefore, I have constantly had problems with my shoulder. These pictures are from my competition days but you can clearly see the difference between the two there.
Winged Scapula (and this is me trying to make it not be there!)
Sometimes I could get it to not show.
So now I have a clearer plan and know that I need to strengthen my serratus anterior and increase my mobility. Again I had to contact Kellie and ask her to please rewrite my plan for that day because that is a pain I can deal with again. And she's so awesome that she did as well as gave me some rehab type exercises. It would be nice to not be in pain like that and also to not have my shoulder do the funky wing thing. 

Saturday was a wash since I had class all day. Sunday I felt worse than Saturday but I went to the track with my BF and did some activity. Then Monday came. After a full day of work and my upper body still hurting I really didn't want to work out. So after some couch time (not related to psychotherapy couch time) I had a talk with myself. I knew I couldn't workout upper body but I could do lower. But I didn't want to. Then I knew I would only have myself to blame when there was more self-loathing and feeling fluffy. So I got my butt up off the couch and went to the gym at 8:30pm! I finished there, went to the Co-op to pick up a few things then headed home. I was proud of myself for getting there and getting in a great workout when I really didn't want to. Sometimes I have to push myself to do something that I may not want to do. 

But later I'll be more than happy that I did it. And that's exactly what happened last night. Loving my workouts though...I must say!

Well, that's about it for now. This little angel is signing off.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Getting my mojo back! Quick update!

Feeling so much better already. Feeling more energized and stronger and just better. It's funny how you don't realize you weren't feeling that great until you feel better. Now if I could just get more sleep. And no, I have no one to blame but myself for that.

WORKOUTS: I've been sticking to my workouts which I'm loving of course! I mean I get to do a lot of my favorite exercises like barbell glute bridge and kettlebell full squats and of course PROWLER sprints. I was going to write about what exercises I don't like but there really aren't any I don't like. Wow! That's exciting, isn't it? No wonder I have no problem doing my workouts. Thanks again Kellie!

And for extra motivation when I was in the gym the other day there was a couple there that were impressed with my workout. They were working out well themselves but stopped to comment on what a great workout I was doing and how strong I am. Then they asked if I'm a powerlifter. I almost lied and said yes but I had to be honest and say no. At any rate it was just the motivation I needed to keep doing what I'm doing. Stay the course, ya know.


NUTRITION/FUEL: I'm still learning my nutrition but I'm doing much better with it. I've been hungrier this week but have decided that even though I love my shakes I can't always have those for breakfast because they just don't stick with me long enough. One of my favorite breakfasts is this cereal recipe I found in Brendan Brazier's Thrive book.
1 banana, sliced
1 pear, cored and chopped
1 date, chopped
1/4 cup almonds
1/2 - 1 tablespoon chia seed
1 tablespoon hemp protein
1/2 tablespoon roasted carob powder
1/2 tablespoon ginger, grated
Combine all ingredients in a bowl; stir. Top with Hemp Milk or Rooibos Almond Milk.

I make my own hemp milk because it's so easy to do. I just throw 1 cup hemp seeds, 3 1/2 cups filtered water, and 1-2 tablespoons agave OR 1-2 dates in my blender. Then just let it run. I store it in my fridge for a while. Easy and healthy since I know exactly what's in it.



So I eat this often because I just love the combination of flavors. And ginger is an anti-inflammatory and that's always necessary.

I also love my creamy rice cereal. It's made with brown rice so a great alternative for all of you gluten intolerant people. It's very similar in texture to grits and has an earthier flavor. I put some nuts and/or fruit in it and it's just delish! If I don't add dates to it then I'll put in some coconut palm sugar but not much. YUM! Now I'm making myself hungry! Ha!
As for other snacks and meals, I usually have salads, rice bowls, or maybe Ezekiel tortillas with refried beans. Pretty brainless. Sometimes I make some bean patties of some sort. It just depends what I'm in the mood for. Also lentil salads are a great thing for me to have on hand. I made an amazing veggie sandwich the other day. It made me happy happy!
I had 2 slices of Silver Hills Hemptation bread lightly toasted, spread one with avocado and the other with babaganoush, added sliced tomatoes, sliced red bell peppers, green onion, and sunflower sprouts. DELISH! So yummy! I must make it again.

SLEEP: What is my problem here? I have no excuse. Why do I constantly short myself on sleep? I really must make a concerted effort to get to bed early. No excuses! That's my goal for this next week. Early to bed. I can read or journal or anything but I need to be in bed early. There! Now I must hold myself accountable! ...seriously....no, really...

MASSAGE SCHOOL: LOVING it! I just love it so much! I knew I would like it but I really didn't think that I would love it. And I ordered my massage table the other day! WOOHOO! I can't wait to get it. It's going to be awesome! I also went and bought some massage cream. I prefer it to the oil and it feels better on my skin than oil. Oh yes! So great. And I've gotten good feedback from my fellow students and instructors so that's good. Apparently I'm good at knocking people out. They keep falling asleep on my table. I guess that's good since most people go to massage to relax. It will be interesting to work on more people that aren't going to massage school or do massage for a living.

That's about it for me. The weekend's here and the weather is beautiful. Life is good. ENJOY IT!!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Hiho, hiho...it's off to the gym I go!

Yes! I'm back! Back to me and my life. My crazy month of March has ended. Let us all breathe a big sigh of relief. Aaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh....

Seriously, March was a little much for me. Just too much going on really and no time off either. As much as it's nice to be that busy I really was ready for it to end and ready to have the time and energy to get back in the gym and help myself out a little. But I had lost a lot of motivation and needed it back. I contacted Kellie at motherfitness.com. She put together a plan for me that works with my schedule. I have done two of the workouts so far. I'll be doing the other one tomorrow. And I LOVE it! So far, so awesome! I'm so glad that I was referred to her. Well, actually I knew all about her because I follow her blog but my friend Iris referred her and I emailed her ASAP. She sent me a great questionnaire that I filled out and returned. Then like magic my new workout plan appeared in my inbox. It has quite a few exercises I've never done before so that was exciting. I love that the workouts are hard but not completely draining. And of course they're hard since I've been slacking in the gym big time for the past 2-3 months. And she even put in prowler sprints since I remarked that I love the prowler. Woohoo!

For me it's really just a matter of having a program when I'm in the gym. And to be honest I just haven't had the wherewithal to put a program together for myself. I could do it but I just didn't want to. I really needed help. And I suggest that to anyone. If you're struggling with motivation, not seeing results, or really just don't know how to get the most out of your workouts, definitely look for someone that has the knowledge. It seems silly to pay someone for something you can do yourself but the truth is that if you're not doing it yourself then it's even sillier to not pay someone to do it. 

School is going along very well. We had our first "coaching" the other day where we practice massage on the instructors. That was intimidating by thought but not intimidating at all in reality. And I got great feedback. I just love that school because it's not intimidating and really provides a great learning environment. I have a couple of things to work on but my instructor is pleased with my progress. Yeah! I am loving school and loving learning about massage and anatomy. It's just cool. Oh! Speaking of anatomy, how many of you have seen this awesome site? getbodysmart.com. Very cool. It will show you the action of different muscles, tell you origin and insertion, and nerve information. Quite fascinating, especially for people that work out or do any kind of body work.

My food is off and on. Sometimes I'm better than other times. No rhyme nor reason but now that my crazy month is over I'm sure I'll do better generally speaking. I made a yummy shake this morning. Still like to have yummy shakes every once in a while. I have no idea the portions really but I'll try to remember.
Pumpkin Pie Breakfast Shake

8 oz unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/3 cup chia gel (basically 1/4-1/3 cup water and 1/2 tablespoon chia soaked overnight)
1 tablespoon hemp protein powder
small handful cashews
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
3 dates, pitted
Mix all those in the blender. Add ice to texture you like (I used about 14 smallish ice cubes). Blend again. Pour into glass. Add a handful of dried mulberries and goji berries. They get a little crispy and it's so tasty. This made two glasses for me.

I look at that recipe and think it wouldn't hold me over for long but it does and did. I really wasn't hungry for a long time after eating that. It's crazy how much less food we need than we think we do.

I just finished dinner and it was so yummy that I must share. I stole this vegan pesto recipe and made it my own.

Pesto Soba with Zucchini and Tomatoes

Pesto
3/4 cup packed fresh basil
1/3 cup olive oil and pumpkin oil mixed (about half and half)
1/2 cup pine nuts
2 very large cloves garlic
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
sea salt
pepper

Mix all but salt and pepper together in a food processor. Process till combined. Add salt and pepper to taste. Process again. Set aside. 

8 oz. 100% buckwheat soba noodles
2 zucchinis, very thinly sliced
2 roma tomatoes, chopped

Cook noodles till done, being careful not to overcook. Remove from pan to a colander. Add zucchini to noodle water and boil for 1-2 minutes. In the meantime rinse noodles in cold water. Drain zucchini. Add hot zucchini to bowl and add desired amount of pesto. Add noodles and chopped tomatoes and mix. Serve and enjoy!


That's about it for me. Hope you're all having a good week. I'll let you know how my last workout of the week goes. And then it's more massage school on the weekend! Wahoo!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Whole Foods Plant-Based Diet

How does that sound to you? Doesn't roll off your tongue very easily, does it? But if I had to describe myself, that is what I would say is closest to the way I am eating these days. And after this past week I would say I'm more committed to that way of eating than ever before. Let me explain.

For the past five days I've been in Portland in a hotel working on a meeting with my friend. I was really busy before I left so I really didn't have time to make a bunch of great healthy snacks to fill in the holes while my diet was going downhill fast. We stayed and worked at the Nines Hotel in Portland. It's a cool hotel in the heart of downtown Portland. They have two restaurants in the hotel, one named Departure that's Asian Fusion and the other is Urban Farmer. So, my question to you is what type of food would you expect "Urban Farmer" to serve? When you think of a "farmer" don't you think of fresh produce? Or is that just me? Well, so far I've asked four people this same question and we're all in agreement. Yet when we went there for lunch the first day we were there, what was on the menu? Mostly steak and animal protein with very little vegetables. I later looked up how they define themselves and it says "Urban Farmer redefines the modern steakhouse." So apparently urban farming now means meat farming! Ha! The joke's on me I suppose. I mean I know dairy farmers exist but in an urban setting? I don't think so. At any rate we had little extra time to really get out and enjoy the city and find great restaurants. Also my friend is not vegan at all so it's challenging to find restaurants that serve food that I can enjoy and she can too.

So I ate a lot of salads but also a lot of items that aren't really what I'm used to eating anymore. I was never a really big cheese lover. I liked and probably still do like cheese from Spain and also Gruyere is delicious. But generally speaking for me I never did eat a lot of cheese. So although I wasn't eating vegan most of the time I was eating vegetarian. Well, guess what? I'm not much of a vegetarian. I haven't eaten eggs in a long time nor any butter or dairy. And definitely not cheese. So over the week I would end up eating things like that because that's really all that was available. I did have a bag of nuts and some dried fruit to supplement what I was eating. Luckily I had that because otherwise I would have eaten even more food that really wasn't great for me.

My stomach felt bloated almost all the time. My energy wasn't what it normally is and I wasn't sleeping well. Now some of that I attribute to traveling and staying in a hotel. However, my stomach really didn't feel good. And that was the biggest thing for me. So I have decided to really keep doing what I've been doing because I know that I feel so much better eating the way I've been eating. I couldn't wait to come home and eat right for ME! So I've eaten a lot of whole foods today. The more I learn the more I love to eat this way.

It's easy on my body and easy on the environment. So although I would basically categorize my diet (in the true sense of the word - "manner of living") the same as the title of this blogpost: whole foods plant-based, I don't want to pigeonhole myself and say that's all I eat. I think it's important to everyone to eat what they want to eat but to pay attention to how different foods make you feel. If you eat animal protein and you feel great then I say go ahead and eat it. However if you are looking to feel better, try going back to basics.  When I say basics I mean just really anything that is a whole food. I think a great diet for today would be something heavily plant based but still have some meat every once in a while. This frees up some money to buy high quality meat. That's just my opinion. I'm not saying that I wouldn't eat meat but honestly, I probably wouldn't eat meat. So weird for me! Who knew? Particularly because on New Year's Day this year I had such a completely different view of animal protein.

I also continue reading The China Study and other items around the internet about different foods and how they affect you. I guess any reduction in inflammatory foods seems to be the goal. I have kind of made this my goal. Sure I would like to look better than I do but mostly I want to feel amazing so if by changing my eating (and eventually getting my workouts back to something I'm interested in!) I feel amazing and the side effect of THAT is looking better then so be it. But that is truly not my goal for now. I just love finding foods that really enhance my health and it feels good to feel good!

Hope you are all off to a great start for April! I can't wait to get back to my massage school tomorrow. I missed it while I was gone! It has such great energy! In the next couple of weeks I'm going to be getting a new workout plan so I'll let you know how that goes too. And so away we go into the FOURTH month of the year! WOW! Where does the time go?!?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Veganized Lentil Soup

Just a quick post because I have about four minutes before I have to be off my electronics. I just made this lentil soup from my other blog. But I made it vegan which was so easy to do. I forgot how delicious, quick and easy this soup is to make.

As a hint in case you're like me and don't use all your ingredients quickly. You can buy small chilies (like Thai or serrano) and freeze them. They're easy to chop that way and throw in any soup or hot dish. You can throw them in uncooked food too but the texture is a little soft. I also freeze ginger root to grate at any time I need it. It's so easy to use that way and easier to grate too.

I didn't have that many lentils so I had to do a half recipe. This is the half recipe. I would double it if you think you'll eat it a lot. And it would freeze well too.

Vegan Lentil Soup

1 cup red lentils, picked over and rinsed 
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups vegetable broth
1 serrano chili pepper, chopped (remove seeds for less heat) 
1 large tomato, roughly chopped 
3/4-inch piece ginger, peeled and grated 
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric 
1/8 teaspoon sea salt 
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for topping 

Combine the lentils, water, and vegetable broth in a pot, cover and bring to a boil. Add the chili pepper, tomato, ginger, garlic, turmeric and sea salt. Partially cover and simmer over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until thickened, 18 to 20 minutes. Stir in the cilantro. Thin with water to desired texture. (I didn't thin it because I like it thick.)

Easy, huh? Well, I hope you enjoy. It's really delicious and takes no time at all to make. Truly. And it has that excellent vegetable protein for all of you that think you can't get enough protein with veggies. This was the perfect dish for the cold weather we're having here in L.A. I was cold all day so this was just the ticket for me.

Hope you're all doing well. School is going well. We learned a lot of different strokes in class on Saturday. I have class again tomorrow and I can't wait. LOVE my class, instructor, and environment! So awesome!

Have a great week!

Vegan Korean Food (Thanks Ani Phyo!)

Mmmmm...Korean food! That's the most Korean part of me is my love for Korean food. I love the flavor and I was missing the Korean BBQ. But thanks to finding this recipe from Ani Phyo I have found a new happiness! I made these Saturday night and they are just to die for! So delicious and EASY! It took me about 15 minutes to make total time including julienning the vegetables!




And while my food right now is mostly vegan, you could easily add some meat to this and it would be tasty as well. But the vegan version is really tasty, I think! Here's the recipe (and sub-recipes) and the links to the original.

From Chef Ani Phyo
Makes 4 servings
 
This is a traditional style of sam, a Korean lettuce wrap recipe. The lettuce and Gochujang sauce are what tie this dish together. The lettuce wraps are filled with sliced garlic and pepper for savory flavors that pair with the sweet and salty marinade of the Mushroom “Bul Go Gi”. Cucumber and carrot add color and texture. 
Fillings
1 batch Gochujang, see recipe below
1 clove thinly sliced garlic
1 Korean pepper, or jalapeƱo, sliced
1 cup julienned cucumber
1 cup julienned carrot
Bul Go Gi
1 batch Mushroom “Bul Go Gi”, see recipe below
Wrappers
8 red lettuce leaves, or more
To serve, place fillings and Mushroom “Bul Go Gi” into individual bowls. Place lettuce leaves in a stack on a plate.
Allow everyone to make individual wraps by placing a lettuce in their hand and stuffing with Gochujang, fillings, and Mushroom “Bul Go Gi”. Wrap and eat immediately.
Will keep for several days in fridge when all ingredients are stored separately.
Makes 4 servings
 
Bul Go Gi is all about the sweet and salty marinade. The beef recipe is popular in the West and is typically barbequed at the table in restaurants. Bul Go Gi is served with a stack of red leaf lettuce used to wrap namuls and kimchi. This wrap is called sam in Korean.
Many people have requested a raw vegan “Bul Go Gi” recipe, so I’ve created this version for them. I substitute beef with mushrooms marinated with the same traditional flavors.
My recipe calls for Asian pear, but you can use any ripe pear instead.
Use marinated Mushroom “Bul Go Gi” in lettuce or daikon wraps, on top of noodles and salads in nori rols, on its own, and as an accompaniment to any dish.
Marinade
3 tbsp Nama Shoyu or tamari
2 tbsp agave, maple, or brown rice syrup, to taste
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
½ tbsp minced garlic
½ cup Asian pear, microplaned or pureed in food processor, from about ½ medium pear
Mushrooms
4 cups sliced shiitake, miyake, oyster, or portabella mushrooms
Whisk marinade together in mixing bowl. Then, add mushrooms and massage with hands to mix well. Set aside to marinate for about 20 to 30 minutes, until softened. Squeeze liquid from mushrooms before using.

Makes 4 servings
Gochujang is a traditional Korean hot chile pepper paste made by adding powdered red peppers to miso soybean paste and then aging and fermenting this mixture in earthen pots outdoors under the sun.  The resulting flavor is a mix of hot, sweet, salty, savory, and sour.  Gochujang is the sauce used to tie together vegetables with rice to make Bi-Bim-Bop and is also used in noodle recipes and wraps.  My recipe keeps for weeks in the fridge, so keep extra on hand to dress up salads and lettuce wraps and to use as a dip, too.
If you have access to a Korean market, you can always buy real Gochujang, which usually contains sugar.  Or, make your own healthier version by following this easy recipe.
2 1/2 tbs unpasteurized miso, red, yellow, or brown
2 tbs toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup agave syrup
1/2 tsp Korean chile powder, or cayenne pepper powder, to taste
Place all ingredients into a small mixing bowl, and mix well.
Will keep for several weeks in the fridge.
  

These were so yummy and I liked that I had leftovers so I could eat them again during the week. Although Ani Phyo touts raw food she also talks about not being too strict with that hence the toasted sesame oil.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Well, it's official...I'm a STUDENT again! And plant-based eating!

Sorry I've been MIA for a while! For some reason I seem super busy and this month is going to be general craziness so I'll do what I can but April will be better! At any rate, last night was my first night of MASSAGE SCHOOL!!!!! And I LOVED it! It was cool and the vibe in the class is good. It's fairly small. There are only nine students, including me and one instructor plus two teacher assistants. That's a good ratio to me.

So, what did we learn last night? Well, important things like class and school conduct, how to set up a massage table, how to drape a client, and how to have them rollover without seeing their nakedness. These are all important things. I think what I like best is the way the class is taught. Sit down and learn a little then get up and move while learning more. Take a short break then back to the floor for more "book" items then maybe do some hands on, etc. That's the perfect learning environment for me. It will be different when we are on the massage table and then have to get off the massage table and practice what we're learning. But it's all good.

My friends and family are going to benefit here because I need to practice often so I'm going to need to get that practicing going. If you are my friend or family and I haven't already asked you to be my guinea pig, feel free to let me know. I need as many bodies as I can get my hands on...literally! Haha!

As for other news in the plant-based diet world, I made the yummiest meal last weekend. I'm going to do a separate post for it because it was that tasty. It was Ani Phyo's Bulgogi Lettuce Wraps. You know me. Representing! For the K's! (That means Koreans for you that aren't in the know!)

I feel like I'm finally getting in the swing of eating mostly plant-based whole foods. It's not an easy undertaking, in my opinion, but I've definitely felt better since eating this way. These are the benefits I've seen so far for me:

  • Constant energy throughout the day - no afternoon lull or post-meal comas
  • Deeper sleep
  • Increased clarity
  • Little or no sinus problems
  • Cleaner feeling mouth (who knew?)
  • Few to no cravings
These are what I would consider hints for introducing more plant-based meals into your life if you have any inkling to go this way:
  • Start small - one meal a day (or week if day is too much) have a big salad with lots of fun seeds and/or nuts, add some brown rice or grains, and beans
  • Have a "Meatless Monday" (Tuesday, Wednesday, etc) one day a week
  • Find a recipe with no meat that sounds divine and make it (maybe try the Black Bean Hemp Patties by Julie Morris...they are soooo yummy!)
  • Add a great dessert like Julie Morris's No-Bake Brownies
  • Add a side salad to whatever your animal protein dish is and keep increasing the size of the salad and decreasing the size of animal protein
These are the challenges I've faced in this shift:
  • For me it was an overnight change so that was more challenging than starting with one meal at a time
  • Getting carried away with all the yummy raw vegan desserts you can make (and apparently consume in my case)
  • Eating much more carbs than greens
  • Eating much more fat in the way of nuts, seeds and avocados
  • Eating enough - simply because I didn't know what to eat sometimes or had nothing made. It's like any other way of eating. You have to be prepared to eat right.
I'm very happy with the way I'm eating. I know it's weird to a lot of people because it's unknown and "extreme" to some. To me, the more I learn about the health benefits of whole food plant-based diets the more I never want to eat animal protein again. Some of you may be wondering what am I eating these days and/or what am I not eating. It's going something like this:
Eating: any vegetables, any fruit, any nuts and seeds, whole grains, pseudo grains, legumes, super foods, yacon syrup, agave, coconut palm sugar, whole foods
Not Eating: animal protein including fish and seafood, dairy, eggs, processed foods
So that's about it. I don't like to put myself in a category nor would I say that I will never eat meat again, but if I had to I would be leaning toward Whole Food Plant-Based. I'm not really a vegan per se because I still wear leather and such. It's also not to say that I won't at times eat cheese or butter. The biggest thing that I almost forgot to mention is that since starting this I haven't craved french fries! Those of you that know me know that this is huge! In all honesty, I haven't had much cravings for anything out of the ordinary. I haven't any huge salt OR sugar cravings. Hmmm...I should put that in my bullet list above. Let me do that now...okay...I'm back.

And as a funny note to end on, this is how focused I am on "plant-based". The other night I was playing games on my computer and I looked at my houseplant and thought, "Hm, I wonder if that would be good to eat." Hahaha! Yes, I clearly am losing it but it truly was funny to me and I truly DID have that thought.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Superfoods make me feel SUPER!

No joke! So this morning I knew I was feeling a little less than my best me. I ate my Lemon Coconut Breakfast Bars but I still felt like I needed something with a little oomph! So I checked out all my superfoods and made my own little concoction. Either it was pretty tasty or I'm getting used to the taste of earth and grass! Probably the latter to be honest! HA!

I had some leftover Synergy Guava Goddess Kombucha tea so my fancy concoction went something like this:
4 oz. Guava Goddess
1 scoop acai powder
1/2 teaspoon gelatinized maca
1/2 teaspoon chlorella
1/2 - 1 tablespoon yacon syrup
water

Shake it all up together in the blender bottle and drink. So I thought that was a good idea to get in a bunch of superfoods before my day began. But I truly didn't think it would do what it did. It's now 5:00pm and my energy is awesome! Not only that but I actually woke up early this morning. I could have gone back to sleep but I took that time to make the Lemon Coconut Bars and I'm so glad I did! YUM! LOVE those things! So anyway, it's either the superfood concoction that has me buzzing or it's my natural high. But either way I have no complaints and I'm feeling good!

I also had a great workout yesterday. I've been slacking in the strength training department. I really have no reason but sheer and utter laziness. Yep, that's my reason. But now I'm coming back and it's going to be a slow process. But I need to be okay with that. So yesterday I decided I was going to go back to basics and do an almost completely bodyweight circuit workout. It turned out to be a great workout for me and my hammies and quads are actually feeling it today. It also makes for a nice chance to really focus on form. My form is usually pretty good but I think often I'm focusing on pushing the weight over maintaining great form. Kellie Davis over at motherfitness.com wrote a post about that just today! She's reading my mind...I'm SURE of it! Below is my workout:

Lower Body Bodyweight Circuit
Prisoner Squats
Walking Lunges
Good Mornings (bar only)
Single Leg Hip Thrust
Glute Ham Raise Machine

5 rounds of 12 reps (for each leg on unilateral exercises) each exercise

The first 3 rounds I was good but the fourth was tough and the fifth was really hard for me but I pushed through and got it done! Baby steps is what it's going to be. I need to be okay with that and I almost am!

 Don't you find it hard to accept where you are? I had a hard time accepting where I was when I was super teeny for my comp. And now I'm having a hard time accepting where I am since I'm now the opposite of super teeny. But I need to accept. And be grateful for what I have and all that functions well. Yep, I definitely need to start from a place of gratitude on this one. And so I am and will.

That's about it for now. I'm ready for the weekend. And it's less than 2 weeks till I start massage school! Can't wait! Wahoo!!!!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lemon Coconut Breakfast Bars & Update

I'm loving finding new foods to eat with my new way of eating. Week before last I received my Superfood Cuisine book by Julie Morris.

One of the recipes in there is the Lemon-Coconut Breakfast Bars recipe. Holy Toledo! Those are sooooo delish! I'm eating one warm out of the oven right now! You could just die at the yumminess!!!!

You can find the recipe here but I'll also post it below because you'll want to get to making them ASAP and you don't want to have to click on a link just to do that!

Lemon Coconut Breakfast Bars


Make a double batch of these bars and refrigerate to have on hand all week.


1 1/2 Tbsp chia seeds

2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted

3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 cup oat flour

1/2 tsp baking powder (oops, I used baking soda)

pinch sea salt
3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp shredded dried coconut, divided
2 Tbsp lemon zest 
2 Tbsp applesauce
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup packed medjool dates, pitted

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Grease a 8x8” baking pan.

In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice and chia seeds. Set aside for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl mix together the oat flour, baking powder, salt, and ¾ cup coconut flakes. Sprinkle in the lemon zest and mix again until distributed.

In a separate bowl, combine the coconut oil, apple sauce, and agave nectar. Mix in the soaked chia seeds. Chop the pitted medjool dates finely, and mix in with the other wet ingredients.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and stir until blended. Spread the mixture into the prepared baking pan, and use a spatula to flatten out the surface. Sprinkle remaining 2 Tbsp coconut on top, patting them down lightly into the mixture.

Bake for 25-28 minutes, until edges begin to turn golden brown. Cut while warm into squares. Makes 16 2”x2” squares.


I actually wrote this post last week but didn't finish it and so I'm posting it now. Just as a warning, if you make the above recipe beware! They are VERY good! I think I basically ate them all in about 2 days! HA! Impressive!

This brings me to another point that I've recently learned on my journey into a plant-based diet. Eating high sugar foods at night isn't good really. I was feeling so much better the first 2-3 weeks but then last week my body started feeling not as good to me but I realized two things. First, I was eating way more sweets (healthy sweets but sweets nonetheless) than I had the previous weeks. And second, I wasn't eating as many vegetables as in the previous weeks. So this week I'm bringing the veggies back. The biggest reason for that is that I really notice a difference in my thirst if I do or don't eat veggies. The more veggies I eat the more I get my water from my veggies and the less thirsty I am. Fascinating!

I'm really enjoying my new way of eating. Yes, it's been challenging but I'm just finding my way and learning some great recipes and eating some really tasty food. These are the vegan recipes that I have made in the past 4-5 weeks:

Superfood Cuisine and other Julie Morris Recipes:
No-Bake Brownies (online)
Lemon Coconut Breakfast Bars (online)
Mini-Chocolate Cupcakes (online)
Black Bean Hemp Patties (Superfood Cuisine)
Roasted Pumpkin Soup (Superfood Cuisine)
Cauliflower Risotto (Superfood Cuisine)
Smoothies - Clean Start and Protein Packed (The Smoothment at navitasnaturals.com)
Thrive Foods by Brendan Brazier:
Quinoa Falafels
Beet and Fennel with Belgian Endive salad
Hemp and Sunflower Seed Milk
Lentil Soup with Wilted Spinach
Blueberry Chia Pudding
Summer Squash Fettucini with Lemon Pepper Cream
Live Avocado Goddess Sauce
Salt and Vinegar Kale Chips
Thrive by Brendan Brazier:
Spicy Black-Eyed Pea Quinoa Pizza
Baked Apple Cinnamon Cereal

Hemp Milk
Chocolate Almond Smoothie (I think I've had this about 10 times actually)
Lemon-Lime Recovery Drink
Direct Fuel Bites
Garlic Oregano Yam Oven Fries...mmmmmmmmmmmm...so tasty!
Banana Ginger Pear Cereal
Ginger Pear Smoothie
Blueberry Rooibos Antioxidant Smoothie
Mango Coconut Energy Bars - boo! These sounded so great but turned out so NOT great!
Other:
Endurance Crackers from ohsheglows.com
Super Simple Kale Salad


Well, when I list them out like that I realize I've really been making a lot of things. No WONDER my kitchen is ALWAYS a mess! I think that about covers it for recipes but I have thrown a lot of things together. I basically keep kale and spinach on hand at all times. I can't wait for summer to come so I can make my Crunch  A Munch Salad. Oh yeah...it's so delicious and so summery!

I have many more items on my list that I want to make including but not limited to:
Energy Bars - there are a few that I want to make like Walnut Cranberry and also Chocolate Blueberry
Smoothies - Green and this Pineapple Kale one I found the other day

I have bought a lot of hemp seeds, nuts and veggies in the past month or so. I've also bought a few books and many "different" superfood type of foods like maca, mesquite powder, cacao butter, lucuma powder, chia, and amaranth. I've also bought a lot of other things that I want to have on hand like shredded and flaked coconut, palm sugar, agave, and dates, dates and more dates!!

I've learned a lot, shopped a lot and cooked a lot. I'm enjoying the process and that's huge for me! Very important to love what you're doing and eat in a way that works for you. For me, this is the way that works for now. I feel better than I have in a long time and while I may not be seeing big changes I'm seeing changes and feeling better. I've definitely noticed that my allergies seem much less than usual and I don't wake up stuffed up like I do often when I was eating meat products and dairy. It may or may not be coincidence. Time will tell.

One thing I have learned for sure is that I don't like flax seed or flaxseed meal. I can handle it in small doses but usually if the recipe calls for flax seed I'll substitute chia. I found somewhere on line that you can do that but use 1/2 to 1/3 the amount called for in the recipe (i.e. 2 tablespoons flax seed = 1 tablespoon chia). That's been a good swap for me. And because chia has no flavor I can handle that a lot more than the flax. In fact I want to make the Mango Coconut Energy Bars again but make them with chia instead of flax. I am almost positive that I will like them that way. The flax is incredibly overwhelming in that recipe and it's all I could taste! Yuck! 

I will try to get on here more often to share more recipes with all of you. I think the thing I like most about this kind of cooking is that a lot of it seems to involve smashing things up in bowls with your hands and I LOVE that. Talk about getting dirty in the kitchen! It's GREAT!

I'll leave you with this beautiful photo from my day trip to Santa Barbara last weekend. It was so pretty and relaxing. I'm so fortunate to live close to the ocean. It's sooooo therapeutic for me! Have a great weekend!

Santa Barbara Coastline

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Dental Health Update, Exciting News, and New House Rule!

So, since I work in a dental office I get to have my teeth cleaned every 3 months so it's fantastic. I got my teeth cleaned yesterday and guess what? My hygienist said that she's never seen my gums so healthy. Isn't that fantastic? She thinks it might be my changing to a plant-based diet but we're not certain. We'll see in another 3 months. I've basically been doing a plant-based diet for about 5 weeks. It will be interesting to see what another 3 months does to the health of my mouth.

Now on to exciting news...are you ready? Today I finally had my interview for massage school! Yes, I'm going to massage school and it starts in the middle of March! I can't wait. It's going to be so much fun. The school, teachers, and students are rather "granola" and "flower child" like but in some ways so am I. It's a smaller massage school and I like that. And I LOVE that half of my class time will be me getting massaged! Win win if you ask me!

And finally some new house rules! I decided that I've become way too sedentary and I need to put a stop to that. So I made a new "house rule" to get myself going. The rule is that if I'm doing something sedentary (watching TV / computer time / reading) I need to get up every 15-20 minutes and do something...anything, just move. Tonight I did just that. I was watching some TV and so I got up at the commercials and did some bodyweight squats, a little dancing, some marching in place, and some planks. I like this new house rule. It's been great. I actually went to the gym the other night to watch my trash TV and walk on the treadmill. It was perfect. I walked at a moderate pace for 45 minutes. I'm not trying to get a "cardio" workout per se, just moving instead of sitting still. I'm trying to extend this new habit at work as well since I sit for a good 8 hours a day.

So that's my brief summary of changes and such happening in my life. Any of you starting something new? Any new challenges you're facing?

Tropical Sunshine Smoothie

Yummy! I made this yesterday and had it again this morning. Delish! I want to go to an ISLAND! And I want cabana boy to bring me this smoothie! Ha!

1 cup coconut water
1 t matcha green tea powder

1 frozen banana
1-2 T hemp protein powder
2-3 frozen peach slices
1/2 - 3/4 cup frozen mango chunks
1/2 - 3/4 cup frozen pineapple chunks
1/2 - 1 cup water
Ice (optional) - use if your fruit isn't frozen

It wasn't very pretty to look at, kind of a puce green color but hey, it was tasty! If you don't have coconut water ad green tea powder, you could always substitute green tea or really any liquid you want. The choice is yours! 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Today was a PHENOMENAL DAY!!!

What can I say about today? Well, first of all the weather was gorgeous again! I just feel so fortunate to be living here where the weather rocks almost all the time! So any day that I don't get out when it's gorgeous I feel guilty because I know there are plenty of people that don't have weather like this in February. Today I didn't let that happen.

I had the day off so I slept in...aaahhhh...I love to sleep in. Then I made myself a shake with the idea that I would be working out soon and I would need to have some fuel for that. As it turned out I really didn't have time to workout and still make it to my massage appointment on time. So the workout went by the wayside and I roasted my beets and fennel instead. Nice compromise. That way later in the day I could make my salad I've been dying to try for a long time. So I roasted and then went to get a massage. And guess what? My massage therapist had woken up on the wrong side of the bed. Perfect! Why perfect, you ask? Because then she gives a good deep tissue massage and really works those knots out. It was a really great massage!

Then it was off to the farmers market and to Whole Paycheck Foods.  I bought some Kuri Squash, Honey Dates, Medjool Dates and dinosaur kale at the farmers market. Then at Whole Foods I bought a bunch of stuff including lots of walnuts and cashews, garbanzo bean flour, sesame seeds, and hemp protein.

On the way home I was thinking that it was such an AMAZING day that it was a shame that I didn't have my new skates yet because it would be a perfect day for some skating. They were scheduled to be delivered today but to the office and it was closed today. So then I tracked my package and it said that it was "out for delivery" which meant they hadn't delivered it to the office yet. Then maybe 10 minutes after I had been home there was a knock on my door and guess what was there? MY SKATES!!!!!! I was soooooooooooooooooooooo excited! Yep! THAT excited! I could barely get dressed fast enough to go skating. I had my music and my new skates and beautiful sunshine...all lined up for a great skate! It was FANTASTIC!!!!

Then I came home and had some food and finished making my salad. Here it is.
Roasted Beet and Fennel Salad with Belgian Endive
with Garlic-Green Peppercorn Dressing
   
The recipe is again from Brendan Brazier's book Thrive Foods. It was mighty tasty and that dressing was mighty tasty. It's made with cashew cream made from soaking cashews overnight and then blending them with water. So cool!

I also made a cereal from his other book I have. But unfortunately I burned it. Oh well. I will make it again and not burn it. Live and learn...or should I say cook and burn? Haha! That was funny! I just thought of that right now when I typed it! I crack myself up sometimes!

I am feeling really good. My energy has been so much better each and every day. It's pretty cool to see how your body changes with different nutrition. I do wonder how much is psychosomatic but whether it is or it isn't I feel amazing and that's something I haven't felt for a long time! Wahoo! The one thing that seems to be the biggest difference to me is never having that bloated and weighed down feeling like I used to when I was eating animal protein. That for me is a huge win! Even my BF said that the other night after the pizza. He said he was full and completely satiated but didn't feel bloated and lethargic. That's pretty cool, I think.

So from one energetic gal to all of you, I hope your day was SUPERB! And if today wasn't then my wish for all of you is that tomorrow will be! Good night!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Welcome to my new blog!!

Isn't it funny? One of my goals for 2012 was to rename and/or start a new blog, do something fresh for my virtual life! I had no idea at the time what it was going to be. But here I am about three and a half weeks after watching Food Inc. and my nutritional life has been transformed. So crazy. I would NEVER have thought that this would happen. I was one that TRULY believed I could NOT live without meat products in my life pretty much daily. And here I am having not eaten any meat at all in about 2 1/2 weeks. Is that crazy or what? So my blog direction became clear.

As I stated, this journey began a few weeks ago when I became a vegetarian overnight...literally! Since then I've been swimming in a sea of confusion and reading a lot. I've been experimenting in the kitchen. Some things have been tasty and others, not so much. But here I am transforming my life and, I believe, my health. And who doesn't want that? I've been feeling lethargic and maybe a little low on energy and motivation for a while now. It's just been hard to be normal after training to compete in a figure competition. I never tested myself but I'm pretty sure that I damaged my metabolism by doing that extreme diet and training. I'm happy that I've found out about plant-based nutrition. There is an outstanding amount of research about the benefits of a plant-based diet versus an animal based diet. One causes a lot of inflammation and the other decreases inflammation. You really can't deny science. I'm not preaching or anything here. I'm just stating where I'm coming from and what I believe in for now. I may go back to animal protein at some point in time but for me right now I can't do it. So I've started a new journey...the journey to a plant-based diet. I'm sure the road will be steep and winding but I will eventually make it to the top.

Last week on Friday I think things really started to click and my body has started to respond well to my new way of eating. I left work Friday night heading to the gym but not feeling it at all. Really I didn't want to go. But I went...forced myself really! And then something short of a miracle happened! I had the best workout I have had in I don't even know how long! It was fantastic! Truly! I felt strong and I got a great workout in. And for the first time since I've changed my nutrition I actually felt strong and energetic for my entire workout! YES! It felt great.

I can tell my energy in general is picking up and actually I can physically see a change which I am happy about. So I think this way of eating is resonating well with me. Yes, it's challenging at times, mostly because it's so new to me. But as I observe it all I'm not stressed out about eating and that, for me, is HUGE! It's been fun finding new foods and browsing online and in Whole Foods for new and exciting foods and recipes.

Last week I made more Raw Brownies. Those things are just crazy yummy. I just eat one or two after lunch each day because I like them and they make me happy. And I get about 8 per batch so that's a great treat for me. I don't need to eat them every day, just most days! ;-) Then this weekend I made this delicious, super quick and super healthy salad! Are ya ready for the recipe?

Super Simple Kale Salad

1 bunch kale
1 avocado
Juice of 1 lemon
Sea salt to taste

Wash kale and spin dry or just shake off as much water as you can. Remove from hard stems and cut or just tear by hand into bite-size pieces and place in large bowl. Scoop avocado out of skin. Add lemon juice and sea salt. Mix by hand smashing avocado up until all is incorporated. 

That's it! Yes, it really is THAT simple! You can add more veggies if you would like. But it doesn't need it. This is best eaten the same day. You will probably need to add more lemon juice and salt if you refrigerate and eat again.

Pizza and Super Simple Kale Salad
I also made this delicious "pizza" out of Brendan Brazier's book. Sorry the picture isn't great. I clicked this after eating one piece and almost all of my salad but you get the idea. I wasn't sure about eating a vegan pizza but it was truly quite tasty. I actually would like to take the pizza crust recipe and just make it into crackers. The crust turned out kind of soggy except for the parts that didn't have sauce on them. I think next time I may have to cook the crust first and then add the toppings and cook some more, just to ensure the crunchiness. Even my BF liked it and thought it was quite tasty. I ate the leftovers last night and then again today for lunch. Yummy!

My skates should arrive on Thursday! I'm going to HAVE to take them out for a spin this weekend. It's supposed to be sunny. Not particularly warm but sunny and that's good enough for me! Speaking of sunny would you check out this picture I took while walking up the stairs in Santa Monica? It was on Sunday and it was an AMAZING day!

Gorgeous, no?
Take a deep breath and breathe in the beauty of the beach. I love the ocean. It's so therapeutic! I love it!

That about wraps it up for me. Welcome to my new blog. I hope you'll follow me along on my journey. It's bound to be interesting or at the least slightly amusing. WELCOME!